WASHINGTON--GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney, stumping in Florida in advance of the Jan. 31 primary there, ripped into President Barack Obama's newest slogan--"America, Built to Last," in a "prebuttal" to his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Obama's team has another slogan it has been using for the past few months, "We Can't Wait," created to buttress Obama's increasing use of executive orders as it became clearer to the administration it would not be able to pass programs with a House controlled by Republicans and a Senate run by Democrats.
Text of Romney "prebuttal" is HERE
The White House and the Obama re-election team is organizing around Obama's third State of the Union speech, on social media and with house parties across the country. On Wednesday, Obama flies to battleground states to underscore the themes of his speech, visiting in three days five battleground states: Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan.
The travel schedule alone feeds into Republican complaints that the trips are more political than governmental in nature. At this stage, it is harder to make clear distinctions.
In ripping Obama, Romney taunted his slogans.
"He keeps telling people, "We can't wait." To which I say, "Yes, we can."
"Tonight, the President will deliver his State of the Union. But make no mistake: What he's really offering are partisan planks for his re-election campaign.
"The President has been telling people that his agenda will create an economy that's "built to last."
"Well, let's talk about what has lasted.
"What has lasted is unemployment above 8% for 35 straight months. What will last is almost as much debt in four years as all the prior presidents combined. What will last are home values that are too low and foreclosure rates that are too high. And a legacy of debt that will imperil future generations.
"What is critical is that we make today Barack Obama's last State of the Union.
"The President's agenda sounds less like "built to last" and more like doomed to fail. What he's proposing is more of the same: more taxes, more spending, and more regulation. And all of his proposals involve "big" government and "big" price tags.
"Tonight, we'll also be treated to more divisive rhetoric from a desperate campaigner-in-chief. It's shameful for a President to use the State of the Union to divide our nation. And someone ought to tell him: In order for the economy to truly "work for everyone," everyone needs to be working," Romney said.
White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager, made the rounds of the morning shows to amplify the "Built to Last" theme.
On NBC's "Today Show," Plouffe said, "the president is going to lay out tonight, at this make-or-break moment for the middle class here in America, how do we build an economy that's built to last? We saw what happened when we had an economy that was built on bubbles and fraud and, you know, phony financial instruments. We need an economy that's built on American manufacturing, American energy, developing the skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.
So we've had obviously a terrible recession, only rivaled by the Great Depression. We've had over 3 million jobs over the last 22 months -- the manufacturing sector creating jobs for the first time since the `90s; auto industry coming back. So there's some good news out there. But the economy is far too weak. The hole was very deep.
So we've got to really dig in here and determine what kind of economy and kind of America do we want? And we want an economy that's based on everyone doing their fair share, everyone getting a fair shake, and everybody playing by the same set of rules."